Digital Marketing

GA4 Vs. Universal Analytics: Know the Difference

GA4 Vs. Universal Analytics: Know the Difference

If you have been following the news, you must know of Google’s Universal Analytics’ impending demise. A contemporary and enhanced data measurement solution is a must since clients no longer browse products on the web in an expected path but rather through several touchpoints. That is where Google Analytics 4 (GA4) comes in as a knight in shining armour. Moreover, in this comparison of ga4 vs universal analytics, a point worth remembering is that GA4 will be free to use and has several additional benefits wi

GA4: A Step Into The Future

Even though both platforms execute their jobs effectively and offer businesses insightful data, it can be challenging to get a clear sense of how the data contrast. GA4 aims to combine web analytics and app analytics. Google Analytics fourth generation enables you to traverse and better comprehend the intricate and multi-platform client journeys.

When comparing ga4 vs universal analytics it significantly improves the security and privacy of customer data by removing the tool’s IP address storage feature. 

For example, you can automatically track page views, scrolls, video plays, file downloads, site searches, clicks, and outbound connections for the web data stream you put up in a property. It is simpler to start tracking with analytics since Google has already chosen some significant variables. However, the data gathered by default is significantly more constrained and needs to be customized. 

GA4 Vs. Universal Analytics: What Sets Them Apart?

It will take some time to acclimatize to GA4’s many distinctive characteristics that set it apart from its predecessor. It is definitely an advanced feature to do digital marketing activities more efficiently. Let us examine the differences between them so that you can decide whether to migrate to GA4 before everyone else does. Here are some top features analyzing the Google ga4 vs universal analytics debate.

Paradigm For Tracking

GA4 measures event-based data, whereas Universal Analytics uses a tracking paradigm based on sessions and pageviews. Universal Analytics records and analyzes various user interactions with your website over time. Although a session in Universal Analytics can also include several events, doing so requires event monitoring and Google Tag Manager.

Modelling Of User Entities

Many users often confirm the agreement to the cookie settings every time they visit a website. However, combining user behaviour data from numerous touchpoints to acquire a comprehensive picture of their interactions is challenging when relying solely on cookies.

You can now stitch the data together in a single unified cross-device user experience due to GA4’s new user entity modelling, which offers cookies and Google signals. Data from logged-in Google users makes up Google signals.

The GA4 Privacy Consent Mode

The key GA 4 vs Universal Analytics difference regarding user privacy gives GA4 an edge. In contrast to UA, GA4 now automatically anonymizes IP addresses. Google declared all requests from the EU will go to the EU GA4 servers, where IP addresses will be deleted before the data is delivered to the US without any IP addresses.

Google has essentially developed predefined criteria so that Google’s tags will dynamically change if we submit data to GA4 without user authorization. It means that the linked Google tags used by Google Tag Manager will change their behaviour when permission for ad storage or analytics storage is refused.

Modelling Conversions In GA4

In GA4, conversion modelling cannot be disabled. Therefore, these conversions are already modelled when you view the conversions metric in GA4 reports. Google’s documentation states that modelling allows for accurate conversion attribution without identifying users- considering user privacy, technical constraints, or when users switch between devices, as examples.

Difference In Metrics

Engagement rate is a new measure that GA4 introduces. It highlights the number of engaged sessions by a user on your website. Whereas, the percentage of single-page sessions without interaction with the page is the bounce rate metric in Universal Analytics. When assessing the actions of people who may have read a single page and exited without taking any further action, the engagement rate is more helpful than the bounce rate.

Implementation Of Conversions Attribution

Attribution modelling in UA and GA4 differs greatly due to the distinct data models. With its multi-channel funnels and comprehensive attribution reporting, UA provides robust attribution modeling tools, significant while evaluating conversion. Additionally, it gives you data-driven attribution reports that are algorithm-based and enables you to evaluate paths that convert. However, GA4 gives you the option to pick your reporting attribution methodology. You must comprehend the function of each attribution model to pick the best choice.

Customer Journey Attributes

The top GA4 vs Universal Analytics differences is that user flows and funnels depend on events during a single visit when using the Universal Analytics, session-based paradigm. The accuracy suffers when the steps in a conversion funnel finish in different sessions. Instead of fragmented measurement based on platform or device, GA4 offers customer-centric measurement from numerous touchpoints. If your conversion funnel has various steps that might finish throughout several visits, customer-centric insights may help you get a complete picture of the buyer funnel.

GA4 Vs Universal Analytics Dashboards

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Google Analytics 4 Dashboard

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You can find factors like the number of unique visitors and pageviews on your website with Universal Analytics. You can obtain information and insights on how visitors access your website owing to the extensive range of built-in reports it provides, such as acquisition reports. While UA gives you information about your users and better insights into how well your website works, GA4 gives you additional customer-centric insights. Assessing the pros and cons of Google Universal Analytics Vs GA4 and switching to an event-based data model from Universal Analytics will be a significant move. With a fresh user interface and few predefined functionalities, the data model is an entirely different offering.

Frequently Asked Questions :

What is GA4?

GA4 refers to Google Analytics 4, which is the latest version of Google Analytics. It provides advanced tracking and reporting capabilities for websites and mobile apps.

What is the advantage of GA4 over universal Analytics?

GA4 (Google Analytics 4) provides several advantages over Universal Analytics. Firstly, it offers enhanced cross-platform tracking, allowing you to track user interactions across websites, mobile apps, and offline sources for a comprehensive view of user behavior.

How is GA4 different from universal Analytics?

GA4 (Google Analytics 4) is the newer version of Google Analytics. It has a different data model, focusing on events and user properties. GA4 offers enhanced cross-platform tracking, machine-learning capabilities, and event-based tracking. It simplifies configuration and has a more intuitive reporting interface. Universal Analytics is the previous version of Google Analytics, relying on pageviews and sessions. The choice between the two depends on specific needs and migration requirements.

How to migrate UA to GA4?

  • To migrate from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), follow these steps:
  • Create a new GA4 property.
  • Set up data streams for different sources.
  • Replace UA tracking code with GA4 tracking code.
  • Recreate events and conversions in GA4.
  • Configure user properties in GA4.
  • Create new reports and dashboards in GA4.
  • Compare data between UA and GA4 for validation.
  • Communicate the transition and gradually phase out UA tracking.

Is GA4 replacing universal Analytics?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the new version that replaces Universal Analytics. It tracks user interactions and events instead of just page views. GA4 gives more detailed insights on how users behave and offers advanced features like machine learning insights and better tracking for mobile apps. While Universal Analytics is still used, Google recommends moving to GA4 for future improvements.


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